The Great Murakami Rereading ProjectPosted: August 5, 2013
I have read the majority of Harukami Murakami’s books (those that are in print and translated to English). I don’t always love his work, but I do always enjoy his writing—even if I am very turned off by the seemingly consistent fetishization of romances with older women as life-altering for young men (see: Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood).
I haven’t read any Murakami in a few years, and I haven’t read IQ84 (I was waiting for the paperback to show up at Kramerbooks). But a friend gave me a copy of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which is one of the few Murakami books I haven’t read. I flew through it during my trip to Atlanta.
Subsequently, I’ve decided to reread all the Murakami titles I’ve read before, and read the ones I haven’t (South of the Border, West of the Sun; Sputnik Sweetheart; IQ84). This will, I hope, help me accomplish a few things. For the nth year in a row, I’ve set out to read at least 52 books. Despite a Goodreads account, I struggle to keep track. I’ve been more diligent with my accounting this year, and I’m behind! TGMRRP will compel me to get up to speed. I’ve also complained quite a bit about Murakami’s tropes. I want to see if I still feel the same way. And, truly, I enjoy his prose. Magical realism has always been my favorite literary genre.
I just ordered the Murakami books I don’t own (why I prefer to own books instead of borrowing them from the library is worthy of its own post). Forty-one dollars and some change later, I am committed to TGMRRP.
This could result in a significant amount of Murakami bingo. Or I might book a trip to Tokyo. At any rate, I hope to blog a bit about TGMRRP; I haven’t written about literature since I finished my English degree.
Here’s what I’ll be reading—Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 aren’t readily available, so I haven’t included them—ordered by original publication year (I’ve already gotten started, hence the strikethroughs):
- A Wild Sheep Chase (1982/1989)
- Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (1985/1991)
- Norwegian Wood (1987/2000)
- Dance Dance Dance (1988/1994)
- South of the Border, West of the Sun (1992/2000)
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1995/1997)
- Sputnik Sweetheart (1999/2001)
- Kafka on the Shore (2002/2005)
After Dark (2004/2007)
- IQ84 (2009/2011)
Image via this GQ piece, which has this wonderful quote from Murakami about the experience of reading a really great book (I didn’t enjoy Never Let Me Go, but still!):
I was living in Cambridge [England] when Never Let Me Go was published. I read the book in English, which is my second language. It took me four or five days because I had to read it very carefully. But if it had been written in Japanese I would have read it in a single sitting. This book carried me somewhere else. A good book can do that. It’s a physical feeling, like I was squeezed by some force. It’s a feeling I love. When I was a kid, I was moved so many times. When you grow old, those occasions become rare. But this book gave me that feeling. It’s a physical feeling. I love the feeling. It also gave me the feeling of being isolated. Your soul, your mind should be isolated sometimes. You need that. I need that. And I get that from this book. It’s serene, it’s beautiful, and it’s scary.